La Gent is an online lifestyle shop established in 2014 by Londoner Sharif Labo. La Gent initially focused on men’s goods, and is known for it’s men’s grooming range, stocking lines not readily available in the UK, like Hudson Made and Maison Louis Marie. The site evolved into a general lifestyle assortment based on the success of their home goods, and discovering that a large portion of their customers are females, buying for themselves as well as for men. Sharif likes to travel, and discover new brands walking around neighborhoods such as Williamsburg to Soho, and Amsterdam to Copenhagen. He wants to recreate this experience, bringing together all his amazing finds from independent stores around the world under one roof, so his customers can discover from the comfort of their homes.
Sharif Labo is inspired by the creativity of the fragrance house Byredo, the architecture in Aesop stores, the photography of Aiala Hernando and Alice Gao, the old school elegance of Ralph Lauren and materials which emphasize their natural state. Sharif, a graduate of The London School of Economics, worked in online marketing analytics for companies such as Google and PwC before launching La Gent. He enjoys the advantages of a virtual shop, but would love to open a bricks and mortar store one day. Shops he admires are Kaufmann Mercantile, The Line, S E T & C O., and online shop TRNK NYC. Also on his wish list, trips to Australia, Korea, and Japan, with a stay at the Aman in Tokyo.
On the Future of Retail
“I think retail will always be around but the big box stores selling commoditized merchandise will disappear and migrate online (its already happened to a certain extent) and this will allow curated stores, neighborhood restaurants and coffee shops to flourish. In a nutshell the functional transactional nature of the high street will give way to a more inspirational one. “
Photos: Henry Haines & Aiala Hernando